Should one date someone older?

Cielo asks: Is it okay to date a man older than me by 11 years?

Hi Cielo –


I have two different answers to your question.  The first is, in many places, a legal one.  At least where I live, it’s actually against the law for someone under eighteen years of age to have any sort of sexual contact with someone that much older than them.  And while you’re only asking about dating, I know you humans, and one thing often leads to another…!  So when you ask if it’s “okay,” in this regard it’s definitely not.  (Though of course I have no idea how old you are; if you’re even eighteen years and five minutes, then it’s just fine legally).


But my second answer comes more from the idea of “okay” meaning “a good idea.”  And here, I’m going to get way more mathematical than dogs usually do!


Let’s say that a person usually isn’t really interested in “dating,” in the sense of romance that can lead to something physical or committed, until they’re at least twelve years old (I realize that might not always be true, but just for the sake of argument, I’ll pick that number).  So a thirteen-year-old boy is just one-year-old as a “Dater.”  Does that make sense?


What I’m getting at is that we don’t want to have too gigantic an age difference in a romance, in terms of “dating years.”  I’m going to suggest we try to keep it to no one person being more than three times the age of the other.  (There’s no official or magical reason for my “Three Times” rule, but it just seems right, the more I look at it)


So if a fifteen-year-old and a fourteen-year-old date, it’s the difference between three and two in dating years.  One of them is one and a half times as old as the other.  That’s not so bad.  But a thirteen-year-old and a seventeen-year-old?  That has one of them being one and the other five in dating years.  So one is five times as old as the other!  That’s too much!


Now, getting back to your question, let’s say a twenty-year-old dates a thirty-one-year-old  Let’s see, that’d be, in dating years, eight versus nineteen.  That’s about two and a half times.  So it’s a big age difference, but still okay.  And if a forty-year-old dates a fifty-one-year old?  So in dating years that’s twenty-eight and thirty-nine?  Totally fine!


So to get to your question specifically, I’d say that it’s totally okay for you to date a man eleven years older than you if you’re eighteen and he’s twenty-nine, both because of the legal issue, but also because then, in dating years, you’re six and he’s seventeen.  Just barely within the “less than three times” range.  Or if you’re any older than that.


But just be aware, even though I’m saying it’s “okay,” a lot of issues will come up if you’re dating someone that much older than you.  You’ve lived through some different experiences, you might have different tastes in music and such, and one of you might be ready for different things in life than the other (For example, that twenty-nine year old man might want to settle down and marry, while the eighteen-year-old isn’t even sure if she should call herself a girl or a woman yet, and is excited to start living a free fun life for at least a while!).  While on the other hand, it can be so wonde


But of course, all that can be a learning experience, which I always support.  You can teach each other the songs you love, and share your different experiences.  How great is that!


So again, with this eleven-year-plus guy, if you’re at least eighteen, I say it’s totally okay, but be careful not to get too committed if you’re not ready.  Just enjoy how wonderful each other is.


After all, the love of my life is decades older than me.  And over a century older than me if you count it in dog years!


Best of Luck!


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